Southeastern Tomato Growers Adopt Integrated Pest Management

in HortTechnology
Authors:
Ellen M. BauskeAgricultural Weather Information Service, Inc., P.O. Box 3267, Auburn, AL 36831-3267.

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Geoffrey M. ZehnderDepartment of Entomology and Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Room 206 Extension Hall, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849.

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Edward J. SikoraDepartment of Plant Pathology and Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Room 105 Extension Hall, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849.

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Joseph KembleDepartment of Horticulture and Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Room 101 Extension Hall, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849.

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Multidisciplinary integrated pest management (IPM) teams from seven states in the southeastern United States (Alabama, North Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee) met to develop standards for adopting IPM in fresh-market tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum L.) production. Teams were composed of growers, private consultants, extension personnel, and faculty. IPM practices available for use on tomatoes in the southeastern United States were identified and a survey to assess the current level of adoption of IPM practices was developed. The survey also allowed growers to identify insect, disease, and production problems; beneficial technology and research developments; and other information relevant to IPM adoption. In northern Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, and South Carolina, IPM adoption by tomato growers was classified as medium or high on >75% of the fresh-market tomato acreage surveyed. It appears these states may have met the federal mandate for IPM adoption. Tomato producers listed early blight, late blight, bacterial spot, bacterial speck, and bacterial wilt as the main disease problems; tomato fruit worm, thrips, and aphids as the primary insect problems; and poor weather conditions, government regulation, and labor as their primary production problems. Twenty-six percent of the producers throughout the region felt that the development of insect- and disease-resistant varieties would be most helpful to increase production.

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